smart grid

European research project Grid-Friends has launched two projects in the Netherlands and Germany.[quote] Grid-Friends is a European research project that aims to accelerate Europe's energy transition by setting a new standard in smart-grid technology.

The project began in May, 2016 and has received funding in the framework of the joint programming initiative ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus, and supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Its new project will implement an advanced smart grid platform in two communities, namely, Schoonschip, a residential neighborhood located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, as well as a carbon-neutral housing complex in Cologne, Germany. [Germany sets smart meter standards for nationwide rollout]

The pilot in Amsterdam will be the first of its kind in the Netherlands and will demonstrate how local communities that manage their own microgrid behind the meter, are able to play a pivotal role in the European energy transition.

The consortium is developing coordination mechanisms and the software platform for energy cooperatives, which will enable them to maximise self-sufficiency and generate greater value through shared exploitation of storage and other flexible assets.

Matthias Klein, team leader at Fraunhofer ITWM and Grid-Friends team member, said: “The platform we are developing enables many distributed renewable energy systems to be combined into one, larger, virtual power plant, which is able to perform the same services as centralized power plants and production systems.”

Smart grid technology

The platform used in the pilot will use the latest in ICT technology to control battery systems, electric vehicle chargers, energy generation assets, heat pumps, thermal storage, and smart appliances in order to optimize energy supply and demand. [Smart meter: Deals for 4.6 million smart meters signed in Netherlands]

The Grid-Friends consortium includes two leading European research institutes, Stichting Centrum Wiskunde and Informatica (CWI) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics (ITWM).

The other company involved is Spectral Utilities, a systems integration and clean-tech development startup which is based in Amsterdam; Evohaus, a green construction firm based in Germany also focused construction and real-estate development, with an interest in building carbon neutral ecological living quarters for low income families.